When we were younger, we dreamt of opening a Mexican restaurant in Singapore. It seemed like a surefire win. Spice, rice and a side of lime. We eat that already- so what could go wrong?
Years later, and we have seen Mexican restaurants come and go- but a select few have endured. One of those hardy survivors is the Loco group of restaurants- and we are glad to see they’re still standing- and continuing to evolve their menu.
Never too late for Latin
When last we checked in at Super Loco, we were very pleased about the range of agave based spirits that they carried. Fast forward about a year, and tequila and mezcal have attracted a serious following in Singapore- particularly among the professional (or close enough) boozehounds among us.
The appeal of agave spirits is somewhat hard to pin down, but our theory is that it has something to offer everyone.
The surface has finally been scratched off and people have started to see that tequila isn’t just a party drink. While they obviously function well as the shot spirits of choice, tequila and mezcal can also be superb sippers. Like many spirits, they take on additional complexity and have their rough edges sanded off when they’re aged in wood. They still retain their own unique character, however, and the herbal, grassy flavour has found fast fans.
To make this point, the Super Loco folks created tasting flights with different styles of mezcal in them. Not just a gimmick, but a relatively low cost way to dip a toe into the water, so to speak. You get three 15ml pours, starting (though not ending) from $19+.
We tried out some of the spirits on the flights- but none of them were actually on the same one! We thus find ourselves unable to recommend any particular flight, but here are notes on the individual spirits (which you can get in their respective flights).
Olmeca Altos Plata (served with an orange chaser): We smell lots of apple pastry mixed with baked orange marmalade. There’s some grain, oatmeal, vanilla- and some stewed veggies.
Pierde Almas 9 Botanicals (served with a Púrpita- a blend of beetroot, carrot, ginger and lemongrass): Described to us as a “gin” mezcal. We certainly found out why. It has a un-mezcallike nose. A perfume of spice, flowers, pine and fir rises from the glass. It only shows its true agave nature towards the end, where the herbs and grass of agave spirits emerge. It performs much the same when sipped.
Fortaleza Anejo (served with Verdita- a blend of pineapple, cilantro, jalapeño and mint): A mezcal aged for 18 months in American oak, and it shows. We picked up vanilla and pine on the nose, but compared to the other two spirits, it was definitely heavier on the vegetal and soil aromas. On the palate, we tasted honey and citrus cream that gradually evolved into spice and finished with the trademark mezcalline herb and grass flavours.
Winning the heart through the stomach
When we were last at Supper Loco Customs House, we scanted on talking about food. We have since come around to the idea that tequila or mezcal actually does quite well when paired with food, particularly when put in a cocktail first.
That one drink to accompany them all was the Mayan Mule ($18+), a riff on the classic Moscow Mule. Alipus San Luis Blanco Mezcal, ginger, cilantro, toasted ancho chilli and lime come together to create a nicely balanced drink. Refreshing but also possessed of smoky, herbal and a hot streak, it was the ideal drink to enjoy with food.
While we tried a number of dishes, a few stood out in our mind – both for their flavour and pairing. We were delighted by the Ceviche ($18+), made with red snapper, mint, Serrano chilli, lime and purslane. While not strictly speaking a Mexican dish (it hails from Peru), it does have a striking zestiness that pairs well with vegetal agave spirits. This version is just so slightly spicy, which perks it up and adds layers of flavour.
The Oyster Kilpedro ($7+ each), for instance was particularly delicious. The oysters were grilled, then served with Habanero infused Worcestershire sauce, chorizo and shallots. The savoury flavours of the oysters were nicely balanced with the smoky chorizo, tart Worcestershire and green shallots. The smoky and vegetal notes then complemented similar flavours in the Mule.
As lifelong lovers of spicy food, we were pleased with the Alitas De Pollock ( $14+), fried chicken wings with a generous coating of chipotle, red chilli, pickles and lime. We were breathing fire by the end, but that was pretty much the whole point.
To finish off, we had the Smoky Ron de Banana ($19+). Made with Plantation Dark Rum, banana-honey-cinnamon-infused-mezcal, black walnut and chocolate & orange bitters, it served as both dessert and capstone for the evening. The mild spiciness of cinnamon melds well with the sweetness of rum and banana, and is accentuated by the smokiness of mezcal. We were glad that it was not sachharine sweet.
Summing it all up
Well, we’re happy that there’s a good Mexican restaurant in town that offers quality agave spirit. We found that there were many ways to enjoy mezcal and tequila. We’re happy to encourage the adventurous among you to experiment with them- and while we wouldn’t say that dining at Super Loco is cheap, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket, either.
Super Loco Customs House